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#1 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 02:55 PM
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2012 v6 Rav4 towing question

Hi guys,

I am preparing to buy a 2012 v6 Rav4 to have a vehicle that can tow and still get decent mileage while not towing. I just recently got into riding ATV and the such and will be making several hour long trips to a few tracks near me a month, and most like a 600-700 mile trip maybe once a month or every 2 months.

However here is my problem -- i have never towed anything and have never used any gears besides D.

So my question is.. when towing when should i be in D, or be in a lower gear? 4? 3? 2? for the 600-700 mile trip i will be driving through the grapevine in Cali which is quite a long stretch of mountains.. as well as more mountains at the tail end of my trip.

Planning on getting a trailer that can carry two ATVS, still deciding if it should be a trailer to fit two ATVS side by side, or get a skinny long trailer to fit 2 ATVs front to back.

Please give me all your guyses input, any help is appreciated!

Edit: Also forgot to mention i plan to get the tow package with my Rav, and also was wondering what kind of tow hitch is best? (the equal distributed weight one, or normal.. etc)

as you can tell I am quite new to this but willing to learn.

Thanks,

Arthur

Last edited by arthur1265; 01-21-2013 at 02:57 PM. Reason: added info
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#2 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 03:17 PM
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I done quite a bit of towing with many different vehicles. With my brother-in-law's 2008 RAV4 V6 we towed a 3000#+ camper 1650 miles up to Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. What you want to do with the gears is to keep it from hunting. For instance while towing uphill at about 45-50 it would downshift to 4th or 3rd but then pick up enough speed that you had to back off the gas at which point it would upshift, then slow down and downshift again. So what all three drivers did was kick it down to 4th or 3rd depending on speed so we could back off w/o the hunting. We ended up mostly using 4th on the level at 50-55 and 5th downhill.
Since your load won't be as heavy and your speed may be higher you may find 5th works fine on the level.

I'd get a front-to-back trailer for less wind resistance. Even so expect quite a drop on mileage.

If you get a 2" receiver it'll handle anything you'll tow including a weight transfer hitch. But since they are for heavy trailers with a lot of tongue weight you'll never likely need use a weight transfer hitch.

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#3 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 03:19 PM
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I am quite familiar with the grapevine. You may want to use lower gears to control descent, but towing a couple of ATV's up I would just leave it in 4th and let the car decide when to downshift from there. Overdrive should probably be avoided when towing in most situations. If you find the car is constantly shifting back and forth between gears or you are needing to pay too much attention to the throttle, downshift.

The cruise control works well to maintain constant speed up or down a long hill like that, but when going up and down smaller hills it will cost you a lot of extra fuel. Slowing while climbing and picking the speed back up descending will provide significantly better fuel economy.

You could probably use a Class II hitch but I wouldn't. This Draw-Tite Class III is as good as they get and under $200.

Trailer Hitch for 2012 Toyota RAV4 | etrailer.com

The wiring kit is about $50.

Trailer Wiring Harness for 2012 Toyota RAV4 | etrailer.com

As for double or series, I vote for shortest overall length, unless you plan on pulling the trailer through somewhere too narrow for the RAV with one of the ATV's.

You will not likely get a trailer with brakes so you will not need a brake controller. Installing them is fairly simple with the tow option providing the power through the firewall for the controller, If you decide to tow something bigger or get monster ATV's like these

" title="Amphibious ZIL-49061 - YouTube" target="_blank">Amphibious ZIL-49061 - YouTube

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#4 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 03:27 PM
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Welcome aboard.

Any Class II hitch will do the job. Toyota's hitch has about four times the attachment points as aftermarket ones but costs four times as much.

You will need to have wires for trailer lights run they are not part of the tow prep pkg. nor is the hitch.

Toyota strongly recommends trailer brakes when towing 600 lbs or more. In mountainous areas I would tow in 4th gear and downshift as required. On long flat stretches 5th will likely be acceptable with the light load you'll be towing.

Since you have never towed anything the first thing you need to do is to learn how to back up the trailer. This must be mastered before you start your trip. With the ATV's aboard it will be easier because you can see what the trailer is doing.....not as easy when it's empty.

Using the search engine here will yield tons of reading using "trailer hitch" or "towing" as the keywords.

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2008 Base V-6 front wheel drive
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#5 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 03:31 PM
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If you do a search on this forum you should find lots of helpful info about towing including some extended discussions.

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#6 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 04:03 PM
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Thanks for the responses guys! So since i am not mechanical/eletrical at all, is it worthwhile to have the dealership install the wiring kit? I am fairly certain i can hook up the trailer hitch myself.. but little concerned about the harness.

i think i understand the shifting better.. basically trying to keep a sustained speed and RPM.. as to not have constant shifting and whatnot..
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#7 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RTexasF View Post

Any Class II hitch will do the job.
If you want to save $70 and have a lightweight hitch that is barely capable of matching the RAV's 3500 lb. towing limit this is true. A class III is capable of hauling 5000 lbs. I have class III on my other vehicles so it's a no-brainer for me. It's a choice of going for the minimum or not.

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#8 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RTexasF View Post
Since you have never towed anything the first thing you need to do is to learn how to back up the trailer. This must be mastered before you start your trip. With the ATV's aboard it will be easier because you can see what the trailer is doing.....not as easy when it's empty.
Wow, I forgot that and do second it as very important. You'll wreck stuff pretty quick if you get into a tight situation and try to back out quick. Once you get frustrated or in a hurry it won't be a pretty picture. I can put my big trailers on a dime. The smaller & shorter ones are much more tricky because they react much quicker.
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#9 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob-o View Post
If you want to save $70 and have a lightweight hitch that is barely capable of matching the RAV's 3500 lb. towing limit this is true. A class III is capable of hauling 5000 lbs. I have class III on my other vehicles so it's a no-brainer for me. It's a choice of going for the minimum or not.
Why would one waste money on a 5,000 lb hitch when the vehicle is not even capable of towing that amount of weight? It can't hurt but entirely unnecessary from my point of view. All the aftermarket ones bolt up with four bolts regardless of the rating. I'm still a firm believer in coughing up for the Toyota hitch with steel reinforcing gussets (Class II) and the many more mounting points to help distribute the weight if you're going to tow the max allowed. This is not the case here so any Class II will be more than enough for this person.

I'll not argue about it. You think your way is best, I think my way is best. Nothing will change that so let's just leave it alone and agree to disagree.

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2008 Base V-6 front wheel drive
2008 Limited V-6 front wheel drive
Both with Tow Prep Package
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#10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Dyno View Post
Wow, I forgot that and do second it as very important. You'll wreck stuff pretty quick if you get into a tight situation and try to back out quick. Once you get frustrated or in a hurry it won't be a pretty picture. I can put my big trailers on a dime. The smaller & shorter ones are much more tricky because they react much quicker.
Thanks for the back up and you made a very good point. Those of us that are used to backing up trailers of various sizes easily forget how difficult it was when we first started doing that. Backing a 24' boat trailer into a spot is a world apart from a 10' long (or so) ATV trailer.

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2008 Base V-6 front wheel drive
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